Essay Instructions: Building a positive classroom environment in Early Childhood Education
In your own words explain how a child’s environment affects his educational experiences. Choose a scenario from a personal experience and explain how you would address the needs of the child and what behavioral management techniques you might use. Include a brief description of the case study or scenario you are addressing.
Response should be a minimum of 2 pages.
Feel free to right casually and use the word(s) “I”, “I would…”,“I plan to…” in your response.
Include at least 4 references to support your plans.
Use APA format for citing references in the body of your work and Bibliography.
*I have been very happy with mmorley’s work, if possible please assign this order to this writer. Otherwise I will be happy with any writer who is familiar with early childhood development.
Excerpt From Essay:
Essay Instructions: A SUMMARIZATION ON The Scope of Technology Learning Environment.
The 1 page summary is base on attached Course Material A that I am sending. The summary should NOT exceed one (1) page However, two is acceptable. Other cited source can be used as well. The summary should be logical and the points discussed should be connected in a way that shows a connected theme.
The essence of this article is to explore the issues that are connected with technology learning environment in an effort to provide a definition that reflects a cohesive relationship between the theoretical knowledge and the technical skill. The position taken in this course is that equipping learning environment with various technologies offers little help in promoting learning if such environment is not designed in a way that takes into consideration the proven learning theories, human needs and concerns. Part of the problems teachers are experiencing in integrating technology into teaching is that technology is perceived to be ?out there,? exclusive by itself and independent of the theoretical foundation knowledge which defines its use and justifies its mode of application. Technology-based learning environment does not exist in a vacuum; it is oriented toward problem solving. In this chapter, issues that are relevant to the design and integration of technology into teaching/learning as well as problems associated with them will be considered. Learning is based on some philosophical, sociological, psychological, economic assumptions and presuppositions; therefore technology-learning environment must be designed, and organized in ways that reflect these assumptions. Adults learn in a distinct way and as such technology-learning environment should support adult learning characteristics.
Teaching and learning activities are cumbersome, and some aspects of these activities are considered intangible and as such do not lend themselves to observable measurement. Teaching does not begin when teachers present the curriculum contents to students but when they prepare their lessons and organize their thought processes. The configuration of the technology-learning environment must be considered in the lesson preparation stage and teachers must think about the learning environment as they mentally visualize their teaching approach in their minds? eyes. It is important for teachers and students to be familiar with their various roles in a technology-based learning environment in order to enhance readiness for teaching and learning. Instruction is not merely presenting the curriculum materials but includes the audience (students), learning contents, and methods of presenting the curriculum as well as the material and physical environment. Technology-based instruction is not a monolithic, one-sided pursuit but a multi-dimensional facet that is interactive. Therefore, it should be structured in a way that is compatible with human traits and dispositions, needs, concerns and expectations. In essence, it should be designed and organized in a manner that reflects these human ideals.
Defining Technology Learning Environment
Some educators and technology specialists tend to define technology learning environment from a narrow perspective; primarily emphasizing on the acquisition of computers and their peripherals as well as other technologies physically present in the classroom environment. Limiting the definition of technology-based learning environment to the presence of technologies suggests that learning occurs as a result of the physical presence of various technologies.
Technology is incapable of facilitating learning independent of teachers? resourcefulness, technical and theoretical expertise, ability to coordinate and manage classroom activities and the support systems available to teachers. Writers such as Chang, Honey, Light, Moeller & Ross (1997), Sabelti & Dede (1998) and Ringstaff & Dwyer (1997) believe that administrative and community support as well as social context of school is important in helping students sustain meaningful learning. Technology learning environment refers to a classroom or a learning area equipped with various resources, equipment and tools used for the purpose of enhancing learning in a in a manner that takes into consideration learners? needs, characteristics and dispositions.
Philosophical Perspective of Technology-based Learning Environment
Philosophical perspective of technology-based learning environment provides the justification upon which the design, the organization, the configuration of the learning environment is based. A well articulated instructional purpose would help teachers prepare budget, select appropriate hardware and software technologies, and select media, instructional methods that reflect the purpose of the instruction. It is like a compass which helps teachers navigate through rough edges to a predetermined destination.
It also provides the guidelines for choosing the short-term and the long-term objectives that reflect the needs to be satisfied. Philosophical perspective provides us with the realization that in spite of the advances made in technological innovation, technology is not ?out there? for its own sake, but to satisfy human need; therefore, teachers should select and use technology according to specific learning problem they hope to solve. Philosophical perspective prompts us to ask why we need a lab-based learning environment and at the same time provides us with a reasoned response on how to design, manage, maintain and use the environment to meet students? learning needs. Therefore, philosophical perspective of technology-based learning environment is defined as the rationalization and justification for designing a lab; it also provides us with an informed decision on how to manage and configure the environment in a way that is appropriate for the realization of the purpose of the instruction.
Sociological Perspective of Technology-based Learning Environment
Sociologists believe that individuals operate within a ?network of role relationships? Gray and Herr (1998, p. 92). Educational institution is recognized as an extension of the macrocosm and as such has role expectations and relationships which affect individual?s performance. Therefore, it should be recognized that in any given learning environment, teachers? expectations and role relationship may affect students? performance and also students? expectations of each other and their role relationship can also impact on their performance. Outside influences such as students? economic background, parental educational background and social class are related to role relationships and expectations. Students enter technology-learning environment with varying technological skills; some students may possess higher technical skill than others. Consequently, students with higher skill level may tend to play a more dominant role in the class than those students with less technical skills. Thus, this may define their expectations and role relationship with teachers and with other students. In some instances, student?s expectation of his/her role also affects how he/she performs in a given task. Gray and Herr (1998) argue that
?worker behavior is affected both by role perceptions held by the worker on how his or her job should be performed and by role expectations of what the worker should do as seen by those with whom the worker interacts or for whom he works. In some instances role perceptions by the worker and role expectations by others are in conflict. Such role constructs emphasize that work performance does not take place in a vacuum but occurs within ? environment in which job hierarchies, power and authority relationships ? are played out? (p. 92).
Teachers should therefore endeavor to organize and manage classroom instruction in a way that minimizes adverse role expectations and role relationships based upon the influences within the school or outside the school.
Social-Psychological Perspective of Technology Learning Environment
Social-psychological perspective of technology based learning environment represents a recognition that learning is a social activity where students, teachers, and learning resources interact in order to achieve and improve learning. Social perspective deals with the organization of the learning environment in a way that depicts learning as a social activity. It examines how teachers organize the learning area in such a way that allows for greater interaction between teachers and students. It also deals with the civility with which teachers relate to the students as well as with the civility with which students relate to each other. It provides the benchmark for arranging classroom sitting in a way that promotes greater cooperation among students and also to encourage students to learn from one another. It fosters humanity and team effort in the classroom environment. Therefore, social foundation of technology learning is described as the social organization of the technology-learning environment in a way that fosters greater interaction and cooperation among students on the one hand and between students and teachers on the other hand. It also recognizes that each class member should use technologies in a respectful manner to avoid disrupting other students, bearing in mind that learning is a private activity; everybody learns differently and at different pace.
Recognizing social context of learning is an acknowledgement that learning environment should be interactive, friendly, relaxed, non-threatening, and supportive of the students. The physical appearance of the learning should be inviting and enticing in a way that promotes a sense of belonging among students. Hone, Culp & Carrigg (1999) have shown that learning can be enhanced when the physical aspect of the learning environment are improved. These authors claim that for 10 years, Union City in the State of New Jersey performed poorly in 44 categories out of 52 that were used to measure the effectiveness of their school district performance. The Union school district took action by providing additional learning resources, extending the instruction period and by renovating the classrooms as documented below:
? Class periods were extended to 11 minutes for middle schools and 80 minutes for high school
? Teachers? in-service training were increased from 8 hours to 40 hours a year
? School buildings were renovated, improved, windows were replaced, classrooms and hallways were painted
? Students desks were replaced with cooperative learning tables and
? Class libraries replaced individual textbooks (p. 3).
The authors state that the changes in the school policy, physical environment and methods of instruction are significant in improving students? performance
Psychological Perspective of Laboratory Learning Environment
Psychological perspective of technology learning environment is concerned with how individuals learn, the pace of their learning, their preferred methods of learning, how the instructional methods are selected to match various learning dispositions and learning styles and how various technologies and media are selected to reflect diversity in learning behaviors.
Cognitive Theory of Learning
Cognitive learning theorists believe that students learn by mentally and reflectively processing information. The position taken here is that learning is internal and it is reflective of one?s mental intellect. Jean Piaget (1977), a Swiss psychologist is one of the advocates of cognitive learning process. Piaget characterized learning as comprising of ?schemata, assimilation and accommodation?. According to Piaget, schemata are the mental processes through which individual organizes his/her thought, interprets and makes sense his/her environment. These schemata continue to change during the child development and as learning progresses. The schemata are also used to identify and store information as well as distinguish various experiences. Piaget maintains that a child?s cognitive structures transform through the process of assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation is described as a process by which new information and knowledge are incorporated into the existing knowledge (schemata). Assimilation is said to take place through a cognitive process as the individuals grows and gains experience; new knowledge is incorporated into the existing knowledge, thereby expanding the schemata. The modification of information occurs as the existing information expands and new knowledge is created through learning or experience, Piaget maintains that this process is called accommodation. It is noted that schemata change with experience and as a result adults have wider schemata due to experience. An individual may not develop new schemata if he/he is not able to integrate new information with the existing schemata.
Ausbel (1968) is a cognitive theorist who introduced ?advance organizer? as an educational concept. Advance organizer uses previously acquired knowledge to serve as anchor or foundation for new information in order to facilitate learning and retention of new knowledge. The logic behind the advance organizer is that if the newly learned information is integrated into the existing information, it will aid the retention of new information. This existing information plays the role of foundation knowledge by providing a link between the newly acquired knowledge and the already existing one. While cognitive theorists believe that learning takes place through mental structures, it is also acknowledged that learning does not occur in a vacuum; it is more likely to occur in a carefully designed learning environment. The contribution of the cognitive theorists is the insight they brought into modes of learning by describing how information is received, processes and stored into memories. According to cognitive theorists, new information is stored in a short-term memory where it is repeated and ?rehearsed? and ready to be incorporated into the long-term memory for easy retrieval or recall. Unlike cognitive theory behaviorists argue that learning is primarily concerned with observable behaviors.
Behaviorist Learning Theory
B. F. Skinner (19..) a Harvard University psychologist is one of the chief proponents of behaviorism. Skinner?s interest is to discover ways of increasing the likelihood of learning occurring. Like Skinner, Pavlor (19..) is also an advocate of behaviorist learning theory but the latter is more concerned with reflective activities. This is evident in Pavlor?s experiment with a salivating dog. In his study, he tried to demonstrate that the behavior of an organism could be altered in the way desired by offering reward (positive reinforcement) to the dog and by offering negative reinforcement if the dog fails to respond as desired. Skinner?s experiment was based on pigeons but he believes that human learning is an overt action and could be achieved through positive and negative reinforcement. The contribution of behaviorist learning theory is that it stresses the importance of providing feedback (positive reinforcement) as a way of motivating and encouraging students to learn. Negative reinforcement is said to reduce the occurrence of anti-learning behavior. The basic tenet of behaviorist argument is that learning is an overt action and that individuals can learn if the teacher provides positive reinforcement as a motivating factor.
Economic perspective of Technology-base Instruction
Technology learning environment has no use outside the economic needs of those who use the technology for learning. Therefore, the selection of various instructional technologies and multimedia network must reflect the technical skill demanded by the job market. The selection of instructional technologies should also reflect the type of technologies in use at home and workplace as well as for recreational or leisure activities. Quite often teachers use technologies for the sake of following the ?bandwagon? without specific needs of the learners or how the learner may use the technology outside the confine of the classroom. In the context of this course, economic perspective of technology-based learning environment refers to the demand that learning environment matches workplace environment, practice and the skill requirements of the learners. It also includes the selection of instructional technologies that are current and have the potential of being used for specific job requirements. Students? lives are not restricted to job skills, or workplace demands but also they indulge in leisure activities.
Therefore, the designers of technology-based learning environment should
recognize the need for students to develop the rational to enjoy quality time at their spare time. Unless technology-learning setting is designed to nurture all aspects of human uniqueness, it will remain superficial and achieve minimal success. The essence of integrating technology into the process of learning is to use such technology to solve real life problems in the workplace, at homes or create a soothing and a comfortable environment. Technology learning environment should not be a showcase whose main purpose is to create good impression but to solve real problems at work or at home. Some technology learning environments are equipped with out-dated computers and software programs that address basic computer concepts which do not target any specific job skill. Bishop (1995) argued that:
It is unwise to devote one?s entire education to learning things that everyone else already knows (such as basic academic skills). One must select a vocation for which there is market demand and for which one has talent, and then pursue expertise and excellence within the niche. Expertise and excellence are impossible without specialization? (p.3).
Adults have no motivation to learn when they fail to see the relevance of their learning materials or how they could use the materials to solve real life problems. Vella (1994) echoes this view by stating that:
Most recent research recognizes that adult learners need to see the immediate usefulness of new learning: the skills, knowledge, or attitude they are working to acquire. Most adults do not have time to waste. We want to spend our time studying that, which will make a difference now. We are willing to work in an appropriate sequence, and we recognize the need for reinforcement, but we want to see something in hand as soon as possible (p.16).
To be able to design technology-learning environment to reflect the needs of the economy, schools must collaborate with business and industry to identify technical skill in the workplace. No teacher can keep abreast of the latest technological development without being familiar with the technologies businesses and industries use. To be able to do this, it is important for teachers to visit job fairs to learn about new jobs and their technological demands. Internship and job shadowing for in-service teachers in business establishments are recommended as means of becoming familiar with new and emerging technologies. Collaborating with businesses and industries is one way of learning how to apply technology to solve real life problems. D?lgnazio (1993) argued that schools are not keeping pace with technology as businesses are doing. The author stated, ?businesses have been building electronic highways while education has been creating an electronic dirt road. And sometimes on a dirt road, it?s just easy to get out and walk.?
Constructivist Perspective of Technology-learning Environment
Constructivism believes that the learning is an internal activity and that learner analyzes and evaluates the environment and in doing so constructs meaning from the environment. Heinich et al (2002) maintain that the basic tenet of constructivist theory of learning is that ?learning occurs more effectively when students are engaged in authentic tasks that relate to meaningful context. The ultimate measure of learning is therefore based on the ability of the student to use knowledge to facilitate thinking in real life? (p. 7). Technology learning environment that does not provide real life problem solving materials upon which students are expected to draw information to enrich their experience cannot trigger off ideas in students nor stimulate them to engage in critical thinking.
In education, technology learning environment is considered an instructional resource and unless it reflects the requirements of the superstructure (economy) which funds it, it will be difficult to assess its usefulness. Technology learning environment must provide unrestricted rich learning experience to enable students to experiment, discover knowledge, evaluate knowledge and use such knowledge to engage in problem-solving activities. A famous American educational psychologist, Bruner (1966) has argued eloquently that the essence of education is not to make a living library of individuals but to help them to acquire knowledge and to use the knowledge they have gained to create other knowledge.
In educational context, technology is perceived as any tool, material, device or equipment adapted for educational use and for the purpose of enhancing teaching/learning. Thus, technology is viewed as a process, a tool and a resource through which teaching/learning becomes active, engaging and meaningful. Integrating technology into instructional delivery encompasses a complex network of activities and processes. It includes teachers? understanding of the theoretical concepts and their application to learning/teaching. It also includes teachers? understanding of the impact of learning styles and their role in the teaching/learning. It involves teachers? ability to design appropriate instructional strategies based on the learning objectives and proven learning theories. It also involves the selection of suitable technology based on the learning needs as well as the ability of teachers to remodel such technologies to fit specific learning tasks.
Technology has created a strong connectivity among the home, the school, and the work environment. Continuous dialogue and interaction between teachers and students are now common. This view has been echoed by Honey et al (1999) as they argue that the application of technology into the educational processes can broaden the scope of learning and render such learning more meaningful. The authors maintain that technology has the dynamism to ?create links between schools and the world outside the schools, connecting individuals, providing resources and broadening the cultural and political contexts available to students and teachers for exploration and examination? (p.5). E-mail technology has provided a swift channel of interaction among teachers, students, and school support system.
Information technology has created a sense of urgency and anticipation for change as a result of the rapidity with which both the hardware and the software technologies transform themselves. Business and industry expect schools to produce candidates who can keep abreast with the revolutionary changes in technology and interpret such changes within the context of application. This calls for recognition that technology is more than assembling various forms and shapes of electronic tools and accessories together to create a machine labeled ?technology.?
Technology integration is a familiar term but various educators tend to define and perceive it differently. Technology integration may create problems for students and practicing teachers due to lack of clear understanding of such integration. Gillingham and Topper (1999) believe that if student teachers are to be prepared appropriately, it is important that they understand what ?technology literacy? implies. These authors claim that it involves ?having the skill and dispositions to use technology in a flexible and adaptive ways for the purpose of classroom instruction and professional development? (p. 305). Levin (1994) provided the following guidelines to help teachers acquire knowledge, skill and attitude necessary for technology integration:
1. Use technology for personal and professional productivity
2. Acquire both the content and pedagogical understanding needed to teach with computer-based technologies
3. Gain knowledge about the impact of technology on schools and society (p. 13).
The role of technology in education is not clearly defined in most teacher education programs. In-service teachers are left to discover whether technology is to be used as a tool for improving instruction or part of the learning material to be presented in the classroom. Such uncertainty is bound to affect the teacher?s level of confidence. Therefore, defining the role of technology in teacher education programs should be addressed.
Time constraint also poses problems in teacher preparation. The curriculum is rigidly followed in an effort to maintain the highly structured timetable. Learning within the context of technology needs flexibility to enable students to explore, discover, and seek ways of applying the knowledge acquired. Learning through the use of multimedia may not fit into the tabulated and highly sequenced timetable of the traditional classroom (Bryde et al., (2000).
Inexperienced teachers tend to approach classroom instruction from the standpoint of invoking and applying the methods and strategies they themselves have been exposed to. Their interpretation of reality and determination of flexibility necessary to implement technology in a classroom situation are controlled by their experience while in training. Brookhart and Freeman (1992) pointed out that teachers recycle the methods and procedures they were exposed to during in-service training. Some teachers recreate the learning environment they experienced and pass those experiences to a new generation of teachers, thereby perpetuating a vicious cycle. Niederhauser et al (1999) provided a vivid explanation of ?self-perpetuating cycle?
? a teacher might transform the use of manipulative into a didactic activity by demonstrating the ?correct? way for students to use the manipulatives to solve a problem. Students would be expected to follow the teacher?s directions and learn to use the manipulatives to represent or solve a problem in the same way?rather than having an opportunity to use the materials to explore their own thinking and construct personal problems representation and solutions. In this example, the teacher has integrated the use of manipulatives to fit with established didactic practices (p.155).
The essence of integrating technology in the classroom is to explore the capabilities of various technologies, create new meanings, apply them to problems, create excitement in the classroom and help students to use the excitement to venture into the unknown. Simplified use of technology produces boredom for students and recreates the inflexibility in the classroom which technology integration is designed to eliminate. Technology by itself or its rigid use does not stir up inquisitiveness in students to learn nor does it help them focus on the learning materials.
Mentorship programs will help student teacher understand the demands of technology integration. Mentorship from a more experienced teacher in technology integration will help the inexperienced teacher by providing needed guidance and direction. It is always reassuring for a new and a junior faculty member to establish a rapport with a senior and more experienced faculty member for easy consultation and better flow of information and ideas. Mentorship is very helpful during internship or practicum.
Teachers who practice the use of technology and experiment with some software only during training are less likely to gain an in-depth knowledge of some of the latest technologies. Such limited knowledge usually force teachers to rely on surface application of more advanced software technologies. However, systematic and repetitive use of various kinds of technology will improve teachers? computer skills (Bret et al, 1997). Teachers who did not receive technology training and those who receive a rudimentary training in computer and related technologies view the more sophisticated technology as a mystery, which is far removed from their frame of reference.
Computer intimidation and anxiety usually result from lack of confidence among the in-service teachers and field teachers. It is suggested that those with computer anxiety be given extra time to get comfortable with new technologies (Ng Poh Ean and Glenwright , 1999). Technicalities associated with computers, as an instructional device should be simplified. Frequent use of computer should be vigorously encouraged. The use of technology should be integrated in various aspects of the in-service training program. Computer foundation courses should be incorporated into the teacher education programs. Computer awareness courses should be developed for in-service teachers and they should be encouraged to attend workshops and conferences related to technology integration.
The effective integration of technology into instructional delivery involves a systematic planning and coordination of support groups and teachers who possess the technical skills and the theoretical knowledge for decision-making and for the selection of appropriate instructional methods. It also involves the instructional technologists who will apply the digital technology to the course contents and the teacher who delivers the instruction. Every electronic classroom needs technical support personnel who are to be readily available for consultation should any hitch arise. In a traditional classroom where a chalkboard is the primary visual aid, teachers alone manage the class activities; but as the classroom gets more complex, support services are needed.
In a technology-based learning environment, teachers have a far greater role to play; they must learn to work as a team and in-group, and coordinate instructional activities with various individuals and groups involved. Changes in digital technology are constant, and teachers should be prepared to anticipate changes by regularly experimenting with new technologies so that they could adapt to changes in order to maintain a good comfort level. In-service education program must design in a way to help prepare teachers to integrate technology into instructional delivery and to adjust teaching strategies to accommodate such integration. Teacher training portfolio should include programs to help teachers understand basic computer hardware, to analyze and evaluate the software that they are expected to use as they engage in field practice. They are also expected to be able to troubleshoot and ask for assistance if the problem persists. Teachers must also know how to manage and care for the electronic classroom, and must understand various configurations of a lab-based learning setting. In order to be effective in using technology in the classroom, in-service teachers should know how to select the software that is compatible with the hardware they are using, and evaluate software with reference to learning objectives (Persichitte et al., 1999).
Technology itself poses another problem for teachers and students. The huge volume of information coming from cyberspace creates a demand for teachers to constantly evaluate materials, make decision on what to use, know how to use it, and decide whether it is appropriate in reinforcing the planned instruction. The characteristics of hypermedia present a challenge to the teacher. Liu (1994) noted that ?hypermedia poses additional cognitive overload upon a user as he or she tries to keep track of links and make decision about how to precede? (p.296). Abdat-Haqq (1995) has provided a summary of the obstacles facing the use of technology to enhance learning as reproduced below:
? Limited availability of equipment
? Lack of faculty training
? No clear indication that faculty will incorporate technology in academic activity
? Lack of funds
? Lack of time to develop facility in using equipment and software
? Doubt about the pedagogical validity of using some of newer technologies since the appearance of literature about these tools is relatively recent
? Lack of technical support
? Lack of appropriate materials, particularly integrated media materials suitable for teacher education instruction ?
? Absence of clear programmatic goals for the teacher education program (p.2)
Guidelines for Technology Integration
It must be noted that there is there is no blueprint for technology integration because each classroom differs in a variety of ways, and the circumstances under which teachers operate also differ significantly. The learning contents and instructional methods all have impact on how technology should be integrated into learning/teaching. However, it is necessary to consider the following guidelines.
? Provide teachers with skill in selecting and using technology for learning/teaching
? Develop a basic understanding of hardware and be familiar with current software technologies during training
? Develop troubleshooting skills
? Require that in-service teachers reach a proficiency level in technology integration as part of the core curriculum
? Emphasize on the appropriate use of technology during internship field experience.
? Develop a mentorship program for new inexperienced teachers
? Encourage greater interaction between teachers, such that go well beyond the confine of the classroom.
? Emphasize attending workshops in teacher preparation programs with a focus on hand-on activities on technology integration
? Encourage exchange of information and ideas between in-service teachers and practicing teachers
? Encourage in-service teachers to attend conference to learn new ideas, discover new technologies, and learn how to apply them
? Emphasize the need for in-service and practicing teachers to be familiar with cognitive learning theories
? Engage in professional development effort
Technology integration into educative processes involves helping students develop consciousness about technological innovations and equipping them with the technical dexterity, intuition, high order thinking and problem-solving skills to create solutions in both the social and economic world. The perceived impact attributed to various instructional technologies has been described as ?? dynamic, interactive, and collaborative settings in which learners can search, process, and produce knowledge? (Sabatini (2001) p.19).
Technology integration encompasses teachers? ability and skill to analyze the learning environment as well as their ability to select appropriate instructional methods, define learning objectives, conduct reflective evaluation of the learning activities, choose suitable technologies that match the curriculum and the chosen learning strategies. Technology learning environment also includes teachers? ability to engage in troubleshoot for minor technology glitches.
Philosophical, sociological, economic and psychological foundations are said to constitute the knowledge base upon which teachers justify their teaching practices. For a teacher to be able to apply technology effectively into teaching/learning, the teacher must understand the philosophical assumptions made about knowledge, the economic and sociological implications of knowledge as well as the psychology of learning and teaching. Teacher?s ability to deal with diversity in terms of cultural differences, differing learning ability, varying competencies, differences in learning styles and the ability of teachers to anticipate students? needs and the desire to satisfy those needs should be considered as parts of the learning environment
Managing technology-learning environment is an inclusive concept, which addresses teaching and learning from a broad perspective. The basic tenet of this course is to show that teaching methods, theoretical and technical expertise including technological resources and maintenance requirements are part of the learning environment. These elements must be infused together in a connected, complimentary way for the purpose of enhancing learning. Technology evolves and changes at an alarming rate; teachers must show conscious awareness regarding the rapid technological transformation in order to remain current. It is a mistake to emphasize on technology without reinforcing other educative processes such as structuring and coordinating and maintaining learning the environment.
Learning is an individual activity and it is the duty of the teacher to diagnose each student?s learning mode and reinforce it. Curriculum is like a recipe, a teacher designs learning environment based on the learning objectives, students needs, available resources and instructional methods just like a cook who selects recipes in accordance with the kind of dish he/she plans to prepare. Fancy technology cannot be substituted for curriculum content, the purpose of the former is to enhance instruction and not to replace it. A teacher who has technical expertise but limited understanding of cognitive and learning theories is likely to make minimal progress in his/her teaching. The same is true for a teacher with abundant cognitive theories but with limited technological skill because the modern day economy is technology driven. Education will loose its value if it is not current. What is required of a 21st century teachers is the ability to relate theory to technical skills, and this is the central theme of teaching and learning in a technology-based environment.
What is instruction?
The word instruction is a key term in educational practice. It has been variously defined, and sometimes with confusing and contradictory results. From the point of view of teaching and learning, instruction is defined as a process of communicating an organized body of knowledge to a predetermined audience (students or instructional recipients) using various strategies in a selected environment for the purpose of producing and facilitating learning. Instructional lab is described as a planned learning environment (room) equipped with various resources, and procedures for the purpose of enhancing learning. From this definition, instruction is perceived as having 4 components as represented below:
1. Audience: (recipients of the instruction, students etc.)
2. Knowledge: (learning materials or learning contents)
3. Methods: (various strategies and techniques of delivering or presenting instruction including technological resources and devices to be used to enhance learning)
4. Environment: (physical location)
Heinich et al (1999) defined instruction as ?the arrangement of information and environment? (p.7). This definition is simplistic; instruction is not merely an ?arrangement of information ?? The definition depicts instruction as a mechanistic activity. On the contrary, instruction is a thoughtful activity, deriving its principles from the psychological and philosophical theories. The four components of instructions must interact harmoniously to produce the desired result (learning). Therefore, in designing an instructional lab, the designer will take into consideration the 4 components of instruction.
1 Audience (students or instructional recipients)
The following points should be considered
a. The developmental stage of the instructional recipients, the level of their cognitive development
b. Purpose of instruction
c. Learning style/pace of learning
d. How can the information acquired be applied?
2 Learning materials (knowledge, skills and attitudes to be learned)
a. What kind of material will reflect the knowledge the instructor wants to impart
b. The expected outcome
c. Time and resources available
d. How will the knowledge be evaluated
e. How can the knowledge be applied or
3. Methods of delivering instruction
Selection of teaching methods to match:
a. the learning materials
b. the objective of instruction
c. technological and multimedia network
4. Physical Environment
Physical environment refers to the appearance of the lab/room, the fixtures such as electrical wiring, the lighting, the cooling and heating provision, space for storage of items not in use and space for students to move about. The teacher will take the following into consideration when making decision about material and physical environment.
a. What kind of equipment, hardware, software technologies that will be appropriate for the knowledge to be taught?
b. Will the resources - technologies selected be suitable for students in view of their cognitive development and their learning styles?
c. Are the circuits adequate for the operation of the technological equipment?
d. Is the classroom properly ventilated
e. Is there enough space for teachers to move about and provide motivation and feedback?
f. Do students have a clear view of the podium, the projector or the monitor?
h. Do students have enough space to engage in private
work such as examination
i. Is there enough space for group work and for exchange of
ideas among students
j Is the lighting appropriate for a specified instruction?
k What steps are taken to prevent interruption caused by
frequent breakdown of equipment?
m Is support system readily available for teachers?
n. Do teachers have troubleshooting skills?
o. Is the learning environment supervised and maintained regularly?
The Role of a Teacher in a Lab-based Learning
Many writers in the field of instructional delivery have attempted to describe the role of a teacher by outlining various responsibilities a teacher is likely to encounter but most of the analyses fail to capture the unforeseen and the spontaneous decision-making, and actions a teacher must take to deliver an effective instruction. Some of the decisions and activities teachers engage in the course of their teaching are not predetermined. Teachers are required to deal with situations and events that develop spontaneously. Therefore, for a teacher to be able to deal with any emerging event in a classroom situation, he/she must draw from his/her repertoire of knowledge, which reflects the quality of his/her preparation, and personal resourcefulness as well as experience. It is acknowledged that teachers do have some delineated and established functions, which they perform, and which provide a framework for their different roles. Nevertheless, there are other unwritten duties that teachers are required to perform in order to be effective. The best way to describe both the foreseen and the unforeseen roles of a teacher in any given learning environment is to conceptualize those roles as setting the stage for learning. But what does setting the stage for learning really means?
It refers to the teacher?s understanding of the demands of instruction and his/her ability to match such demands with the students? needs, and the preparation of the learning environment in anticipation of the needs. Consequently, for the teacher to be able to set the stage for learning, the teacher must be able to play the following roles.
? Develop the curriculum contents (synthesize, analyze and evaluate the knowledge to be taught)
? Make decision as to whether the knowledge to be taught reflects the purpose of instruction and the needs of the students
? Select appropriate methods that reflect purpose, needs and proper allocation of time etc
? Diversify instructional strategies to reflect students learning styles and pace of learning
? Identify resources to help students consolidate learning
? If laboratory is used, prepare the lab, select hardware and software technologies to match the purpose of instruction, identify computer peripherals and other equipment etc.
? Decide on the seating arrangement according to the purpose of instruction
? Prepare the physical layout of the classroom to reflect the culture of the school
? Select appropriate lighting to reflect the intensity of each learning objective and methods being used
? Establish control and provide guideline in using the computer and other technologies
? Assess the classroom/lab for interference with the instruction
? The lab must be configured so that the students have clear view of the projector or the central monitor
? The teacher must also consider the ergonomic requirements of a given laboratory classroom
? Provide a relaxing learning environment for the students
? Encourage active participation among students
? Provide group network and computer network to encourage collaborative learning
? Provide motivation for students
? Advise and counsel students, diagnose weakness and seek out solution
? Provide feedback
? Encourage resourcefulness among students
? Help students build their self-esteem
? Relate to each student according to need and pace of learning because learning is private and each individual processes information differently
? Provide follow-up studies in terms of further reading, written assignment, library and/or internet research etc.
? Observe students, determine level of progress at regular interval, and make adjustment as necessary
? As a teacher reflect on your teaching and make changes as deem necessary in view of your experience and your assessment of your students
? Continually check if the technologies in use are working and request for repair and/or replacement if they are not
? Evaluate instruction, methods of instruction and students? progress
? Develop troubleshooting ability
? Work closely with business and industries and be familiar with changes in technology
? Engage in self-development activities (by conducting action research, attending conferences, workshops to remain current and to keep pace with the rapid technological changes etc)
? Be firm but fair and acknowledge each student?s strength and weakness
? Keep proper documentation of your school work
The Role of the Students in a Technology-based Learning
Most students enter into the technology classroom without knowledge of what is expected of them, they sit quietly waiting for the teacher to commence teaching. Just as teachers have the responsibility of stating stage for learning, the students also have to prepare themselves in readiness to embrace learning. It is necessary for students to be familiar with their learning environment by mentally surveying the environment in an effort to understand the configuration of the lab, examining the sitting arrangement, discovering how to adjust the chair for comfort, discovering lockers and space to store items not immediately in use, locate the position of the computer peripherals and all the available learning resources as well as making sure that he/she is in a location to make eye contact with the teacher as the instruction progresses. Students? eye contact with teachers is very important, it helps teachers to determine how far the students are coping with the learning activity or how frustrated they are; it also help the teacher to adjust the pace of instruction as necessary.
Students? eye contacts and facial expression can signal positive or negative feedbacks; positive feedbacks provide the teacher with the reassurance to continue delivering the instruction. On the other hand, negative signal from students? eye contacts and facial expression may cause the teachers to engage in a reflective teaching practice. Through the process of reflective teaching activity, the teacher will be able to rewind, restate, reiterate what have been discussed earlier in a variety of ways, using various media to motivate and sustain meaningful learning for all the students.
Excerpt From Essay:
Essay Instructions: The purpose of this paper is to discuss and address how by using universal design for learning processes along with collaborative teaching methods and inclusive teaching practices an educator can provide appropriate and evolving learning opportunities to all students in a heterogeneous classroom environment.
briefly define inclusive classrooms; briefly define universal design for learning; briefly define collaborative teaching.
briefly discuss the current education requirements by federal law to support this educational environment.
discuss the use of the combination of the areas above to create and sustain successful heterogeneous (inclusive) classrooms.
discuss the successful use of classroom pods (small group set-ups; as opposed to traditional rows-and-columns classroom arrangement) combined with the Socratic method of teaching where the teacher guides and enables the students to learn the subject matter (as opposed to traditional lecture method)
In combination with the previous method and environment all subjects would be taught at a range of learning levels appropriate to the students in that particular inclusive (heterogeneous) classroom. This is opposed to the traditional teaching method of teaching one subject level to all of the students without disabilities and several subject levels to the students with learning disabilities.
The use of the pods (usually groups of four desks placed facing each other in a square) facilitates this process by allowing the educators to arrange the students according to their particular comprehension levels for each subject. Pods can have 'mentor members' that would be performing at higher levels than their fellow pod members in that particlar subject matter and who enjoy tutoring and helping their classmates.
Discuss the advantages of using collaborative teaching under the universal design for learning processes in inclusive (heterogeneous) classrooms.
address the disadvantages (if any)of using this process as opposed to traditional regular education classrooms combined with seperate self-contained classrooms for students with learning disabilities.
Excerpt From Essay:
Essay Instructions: Analyze the importance of understanding the stages of human development in the classroom. Analyze some of the problems that might result from a teachers' lack of such understanding. Focusing on one stage (e.g., early childhood), include a discussion of teacher behaviors that would promote students' thinking abilities, behaviors that would help students achieve greater success, and behaviors that would promote the social and emotional well-being of the individual student as well as improve the classroom environment for children in that stage. Include classroom practices and materials that you feel promote diversity and equity within the educational experience.
Excerpt From Essay:
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